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Gothic Revival

How Gothic Style

The Gothic Revival style is part of the mid-19th century picturesque and romantic movement in architecture.


Gothic Revival draws features from the original Gothic style, including decorative patterns, finialslancet windowshood moulds and label stops. 

How Gothic style influenced Queen Anne style

1. Gothic Revival Style

Gothic Revival was one of the most influential styles of the 19th century.

Gothic Revival Style

Above: Medieval Interior of Laon Cathedral Notre-Dame, Picardy, France - showing Gothic features:

  • Gothic Arches, Rose window, Stained glass windows. 

  • Vertical emphasis, Variety of materials, Rich decoration


  • Gothic Revival Ideas and Designs were based on forms and patterns used in the Middle Ages, when people were more devout.

  • Serious study was combined with a more fanciful, romantic vision of Medieval chivalry and romance.

  • A wide range of religious, civic and domestic buildings were built and furnished in the Gothic Revival style, which flourished from 1830 to 1900.

The Gothic architecture revival had been stimulated by the rebuilding of London’s Houses of Parliament in 1834.  the reconstruction of the Palace was won by the architect Charles Barry, whose design was for new buildings in the Gothic Revival style, specifically inspired by the English Perpendicular Gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries.

Above: The Palace of Westminster, rebuilt in Gothic Revival style from 1840-1876.

  • The Gothic Revival style is part of the mid-19th century picturesque and romantic movement in architecture, reflecting the public's taste for buildings inspired by medieval design.

Above: Picturesque Government House, Sydney - not all Gothic, since it uses Tudor style arches and chimneys, like Government House in Hobart, Tasmania


  • This was a real departure from the previously popular styles that drew inspiration from the classical forms of ancient Greece and Rome.


  • This style was promoted as an appropriate design for rural settings, with its complex and irregular shapes and forms fitting well into the natural landscape. Thus, the Gothic Revival style was often chosen for country homes and houses in rural or small town settings.

The Gothic Revival style was also popular for churches, where high style elements such as castle-like towers, parapets, and tracery windows were common, as well as the pointed Gothic arched windows and entries.

Above: The Gables 52 High Street East Launceston

Other characteristic details include steeply pitched roofs and front facing gables with delicate wooden trim called vergeboards or bargeboards.
The most commonly identifiable feature of the Gothic Revival style is the pointed arch, used for windows, doors, and decorative elements like porches, dormers, or roof gables

  • This distinctive incised wooden trim is often referred to as "gingerbread" and is the feature most associated with this style.

  • Gothic Revival style buildings often have porches with decorative turned posts or slender columns, with flattened arches or side brackets connecting the posts.

  • Gothic Revival style churches may have not just pointed arch windows and porticos, but often feature a Norman castle-like tower with a crenellated parapet or a high spire.

Above: The vast harbour-front Gothic Revival Point Piper estate Elaine, formerly owned by the Fairfax family

  • Elaine was introduced to the market as “Elaine Gardens”, worth $80m.

  • The picturesque Gothic home was owned by the Fairfax media dynasty from 1891 when it was bought for £2100.

  • Tech billionaire Scott Farquhar paid $71 million for this Point Piper estate in 2017

Gothic Revival style reveals itself in churches, houses, and some public buildings.

  • In part the 19th century rebirth of Gothic drew upon the religious credibility of the style, but above all it appealed to ideals and principles of construction.

  • Gothic was understood not just as a linear emphasis, with pointed arches, slender piers and attenuated walls.

  • Ultimately, these features would amount to nothing but an aesthetic gimmick were it not for the spiritual and ethical values attached to the building.

  • No style has more powerful spiritual connotations in Western aesthetics than Gothic.

  • The soaring vertical architecture of the cathedrals communicates a holy awe peculiar to the Middle Ages:
    raking gables, multiple pinnacles and nervous pointed arches strain to transcend earthly weight, a metaphoric ambition to meet God in defiance of gravity.

  • The style expresses sacred zeal in a tangible way, reducing the mass of wall to the point of hazard.[1]

Gothic is the architecture of the pointed arch, the rib vault, the flying buttress, window tracery, pinnacles and spires.

Walls are reduced to a minimum by large arcades and there is an emphasis on verticality.

What to look for

What To Look for in a Gothic Building

  1. Pointed arches and or windows

  2. Irregular appearance

  3. Vertical emphasis

  4. Variety of materials

  5. Rich colours and decoration

Identifiable Gothic Features

Identifiable Gothic Features:

  1. Pointed arches as decorative element and as window shape

  2. Front facing gables with decorative incised trim (vergeboards or bargeboards)

  3. Porches with turned posts or columns

  4. Steeply pitched roof

  5. Gables often topped with finials or crossbracing

  6. Decorative crowns (gable or drip mold) over windows and doors

  7. Castle-like towers with parapets on some high style buildings

  8. Carpenter Gothic buildings have distinctive board and batten vertical siding

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin

Above: 2 Lyttleton Street East Launceston

Left: Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin

Architect Augustus Pugin 

Architect Augustus Pugin was an English architect, designer, artist and critic, chiefly remembered for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style; his work culminated in the interior design of the Palace of Westminster. Wikipedia

Pugin (1812-1852) was one of the great architects of Gothic revival. 

  • Though he died aged 40, his achievements were extraordinary, including numerous churches, learned and polemical books on architecture, countless designs for ecclesiastical furniture and liturgical objects, the interiors of the Houses of Parliament in London, plus three marriages with many children.

  • Through his writing and design, Pugin was undoubtedly influential. Traces of his ideas can be found throughout Australia, as in William Wardell's churches in Melbourne, including St Patrick's Cathedral.

  • These are significant connections, because Pugin's radical design theories can be traced from assimilation to orthodoxy.

Left: The rebuilt Palace of Westminster, whose interiors were designed by Pugin

Pugin's ideas and designs anticipate the Arts and Crafts Movement in doctrines such as truth to materials, honesty of construction, the logic of ornaments in relation to structure and the unity of art and design.

Pugin's notion was that Gothic was Christian and Christian was Gothic,... It became the way people built churches and perceived churches should be. 

  • Even today if you ask someone what a church should look like, they'll describe a Gothic building with pointed windows and arches.

  • Pugin created landmarks against materialism; but their authenticity doesn't fall to them as naturally as with real Gothic; and you can even suspect that they're really just devout props, lush scenography for archaic rites, posh costumes and acting gear for a world whose core energies had already withdrawn from the altar.

Architect Augustus Pugin 
Gothic Revival in Australia

2. Gothic Revival in Australia

  • Right across Australia, from outback towns with tiny churches made out of corrugated iron with a little pointed door and pointed windows, to our very greatest cathedrals,

  • you have buildings which are directly related to Pugin's ideas.- Wikipedia

Above: Gothic Revival central tower of St Patrick's Cathedral


  • For the next 100 years, even in the antipodes, the style reigned and there was no more prolific local practitioner than William Wardell, who designed many of Melbourne’s landmark churches, including one of the world’s largest neo-Gothic ones, St Patrick’s Cathedral on Eastern Hill.

    ASN Co Building, The Rocks, Sydney (centre of picture)

  • That 19th-century banks and offices adopted the features of mediaeval churches was seen as no contradiction in an era when virtue and power had shifted to secular wealth.

  • And so, along the lower part of Collins Street, which rapidly became Australia’s pre-eminent financial centre, a host of flamboyantly neo-Gothic buildings, including the Rialto and Olderfleet sites, manifested.

William Wardell

William Wilkinson Wardell (1823–1899) was a civil engineer and architect, notable not only for his work in Australia, the country to which he emigrated in 1858, but also for having a successful career as a surveyor, and an ecclesiastical architect in England and Scotland before his departure.

William Wardell

The former ES&A Bank (circa 1987) in Melbourne


Left: Old Rialto Buildings Collins Street Melbourne

The Rialto buildings.Collins Street, MelbourneAustralia. Part of a famous collection of commercial gothic revival buildings

Above: Newman College, University of Melbourne, Walter Burley Griffin's iconic interwar take on the idiom

The work of AWN Pugin and John Ruskin in popularising Gothic architecture in the first half of the 19th century, laid the groundwork for others to use design elements and motifs derived from early-English and medieval homes, churches, farm houses and fortifications.[3] 

  • Free Gothic became a popular choice for Australian architects and their clients because it was not concerned with historical correctness and therefore gave them greater freedom in their designs.

  • The style was much in vogue for religious buildings but was sometimes used in residential architecture as well.

Gothic Revival style 'Bishopscourt' is one of the highlights of Darling Point, Sydney, NSW

Neo-Gothic mansion Bishopscourt, was formerly the official residence of Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies.

  • After 105 years of ownership by the Anglican Church and two years on the market, the 6216-square metre, heritage-listed estate was sold by Ray White Double Bay to a local buyer in December 2015 for $18 million. Video Tour

  • The sale returns to private hands one of the great heritage estates of the eastern suburbs, comparable to the nearby, much larger Swifts mansion which was formerly home to the Catholic Archbishop before it was later bought by the Moran family.

Bishopscourt is one of the great heritage estates of Sydney's eastern suburbs.

  • The church made the decision to sell the property at the 2012 Synod, with 452 votes out of 579 in favour, with a five-year window in which to sell the property.

  • Former Archbishop Peter Jensen vacated it when he retired in July 2013 and it was formally listed to expressions of interest two months later.

  • Original hopes of $25 million by the church were revised downward after it went to auction in March last year, at which it was passed in after interest by local buyers stalled at the $20 million level.


  • The sale of Bishopscourt returns the site to private hands.

  • Built in 1841 as “Percyville” for ironmonger and director of the Australian Gaslight Company Thomas Woolley, it is listed on the Register of the National Estate.

Queen Anne Style

3. Queen Anne Style

In Australia, the Queen Anne style was absorbed into the Federation style,

The Queen Anne style took its name from the British monarch of late 17th century but, in reality, derived inspiration from the Tudor and other earlier periods.

  • The Gothic (Queen Anne) Revival style is part of the mid-19th century picturesque and romantic movement in architecture, reflecting the public's taste for buildings inspired by medieval design.

The grand Federation home, "Lugano", 17 Victoria Square Ashfield

Camelot House, Kirkham, Australia (ca 1900) designed by architect John Horbury Hunt, for James White, New South Wales politician and great-uncle of author Patrick White.

The Queen Anne style represented the culmination of the picturesque, or romantic movement of the 19th century. Based on a premise of “decorative excess” and variety, there was little attempt to stay true to any one particular style or historical detailing.

Rather, the style displayed a combination of various forms and stylistic features borrowed from the earlier parts of the Victorian and Romantic eras. The name of style suggested eclecticism (variety) to its proponents in England, from where the style originated.

Edzell, 76 St Georges Road Toorak Victoria, in English Revival (Queen Anne) style

Still, “Queen Anne” is somewhat misleading given her much earlier reign (1702-1714) during times when Renaissance-inspired architecture was the norm.

Westerhall, 2 Lime Avenue Newstead, Launceston TAS in Federation Queen Anne style


George Devey (1820–1886) and the better-known Norman Shaw (1831–1912) popularized the Queen Anne style of British architecture of the industrial age in the 1870s.

Springfield House, Springfield South Australia

  • Norman Shaw published a book of architectural sketches as early as 1858, and his evocative pen-and-ink drawings began to appear in trade journals and artistic magazines in the 1870s. (American commercial builders quickly adopted the style.)

  • Shaw's eclectic designs often included Tudor elements, and this "Old English" style also became popular in the United States, where it became known (inaccurately) as the Queen Anne style. Confusion between buildings constructed during the reign of Queen Anne and the "Queen Anne" Style still persists, especially in England.

Lords Hotel 2 King Strret, Scottsdale TAS in Queen Anne style

"The principle behind the "English Revival" (Queen Anne) or "Gothic" home is one of frankness.

  • "That is, the exterior is a frank expression of the interior.

"The floor plan is first laid out and, regardless of its intricacy, the exterior is made to reveal what it encloses."

  • "Thus the Gothic (Queen Anne) style is the most flexible of all.

  • Though symmetry is sacrificed it is more than made up for in the subtle balancing of parts.

  • The finished result, if carefully watched, will be a beautiful composition of shapely architectural forms, varied wall surfaces, projecting casements and rich, decorative detail.

  • For the expression of one’s personality in a home, nothing could be more pliable, and in the end satisfying."
    - 1928, the Builder's Home Catalog[2]

"The (smaller) English Cottage style is notable for its steeply pitched, cross-gabled roof.

  • Decorative half timbering is common in the gable and second story.

  • The windows are relatively tall and slender with multi-pane glazing separated by either
    wood or lead (bars).

  • Chimneys are very large and commonly decorated with ornate chimney pots."


Left: English cottage style

Above: 6 Abbott St East Launceston, Tasmania in Federation Queen Anne and Shingle style

In Australia, this became the Queen Anne and then Federation Queen Anne style
Its clearest identifying features are:

  1. Red brick construction,

  2. tall striated brick chimneys,

  3. striped Tudor-style batons on gables, called 'half timbering',

  4. white trim around windows

  5. overhanging upper-storey windows called oriels and

  6. ornamental timber work particularly on verandahs.

Queen Anne Bungalow at 95 High St, Launceston, TAS

'Queen Anne' exteriors tended to be asymmetrical with elements such as a turret or unexpected circular window added for interest and delight. In this respect English Revival architecture was a reaction against a formulaic and predictable Georgian classicism.

Booloominbah by John Horbury Hunt, UNE Armidale, Southern Elevation


Classic Gothic Style
Gothic Style

4. Gothic Style and Queen Anne Federation style


Classic Gothic Style

Left: Façade of Reims Cathedral, France

Right: The interior of the western end of Reims Cathedral

Above Left: Malbork Castle (formerly Mareinburg), Poland, begun before 1280

Above: American Victorian Gothic house

Above Right: American Queen Anne with Gothic features

Gothic architecture is most familiar as the architecture of many of the great cathedralsabbeys and churches of Europe. It is also the architecture of manycastlespalacestown hallsguild halls, universities and to a less prominent extent, private dwellings.

Tthe Gothic style was expressed most powerfully in the great churches, cathedrals and in a number of civic buildings, its characteristics lending themselves to appeals to the emotions, whether springing from faith or from civic pride. 

  • From Wikipedia on Gothic Revival Archictecture:
    "The Gothic Revival (also referred to as Victorian Gothic or Neo-Gothic) is an architectural movement that began in the late 1740s in England. Its popularity grew rapidly in the early 19th century, when increasingly serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time."

  • By the late 1800s, the fanciful details of Gothic Revival architecture had waned in popularity. Gothic Revival ideas did not die out, but they they were most frequently reserved for churches and large public buildings.

  • Queen Anne became an architectural fashion in the 1880s and 1890s, when the industrial revolution was building up steam. Home builders were caught up in the excitement of new technologies which allowed cheap factory-made, pre-cut architectural parts, especially bricks and tiles. - Queen Anne Architecture in the U

Gothic Towers
Gothic influences

Above Left: Rheinstein Castle, Germany showing fortress towers and castellation of the walls
Above: Basilica of the Assumption of Mary, Krakow, Poland showing finials above towers
Above Right: The Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Italy showing castellation of roof line

Gothic influences on Queen Anne decoration:

Gothic Towers, or Turrets

(Also referred to as "Candle-Snuffers")

Above left: Castle in Prague
Above: Albert Park Architecture by Dean-Melbourne
Above Right: TV Star: Architect John Horbury Hunt designed Camelot at Camden in the late 1880's

Castellation of roofs or 'Ridge Decoration'


Above Left: Castellation- Battlements used for a decorative purpose.

Above Right: Castellation at Clovelly House, 1 Drummoyne Avenue, Drummoyne

Circular Windows

Above Left: Castle building: enclosed 'walk' and castellation
Above Right: Ridge castellation at 25 Drummoyne Avenue,Drummoyne NSW

Circular Windows

also known as "Bulls-eyes" or "Oeil-de-boeuf" (architectural term) sometimes anglicized as ox-eye window,

Above Left: Chartres Cathedral Rose Window
Above: Symbolism- the north rose of Notre Dame, Paris
Above Right: Bullseye' leadlight window at 23 Drummoyne Avenue, Drummoyne

Above Left: Bullseye window in Rosebery NSW
Above: Plain turret bullseye windows at The Towers- Kew by Dean-Melbourne
Above Right: Teardrop shape of the bullseye window and extensive leadlight fittings at 49 Darley Road Randwick NSW

Coloured Glass

Series of bullseye windows at Red House, England built for William Morris

Red House is a significant Arts and Crafts building located in the town of Bexleyheath in Southeast London, England. Wikipedia

Coloured Glass window pane sets

In medieval Europe from the 10th century to the 16th century, stained glass windows were the major pictorial art form, particularly innorthern FranceGermany and England, where windows tended to be larger.[4] 

  • The purpose of stained glass windows in a church was both to enhance the beauty of their setting and

  • to inform the viewer through narrative or symbolism.

'Cathedral glass' is single colour transparent glass, used to make small panes of romantic or sacred glass panels.

Above Left: Inside the Chartres Cathedral, France

Above Right: Small coloured glass panels in the upper transom windows are typical Federation features

Above Left: 'Cremorne' at Hamilton Hill, Brisbane sold by restaurateur Genny Nielson. Gothic window panes in both the pavilions and the upper panes of the bow windows

Above Right: Romantic Coloured glass window panes at 41 Dudley Street Coogee NSW

Above Left: Gothic sets of coloured glass in bay window at 1 Maitland Street Launceston
Above Right: Decorative Coloured glass window pane sets at 6 Lime Avenue, Newstead, Launceston Tas.

Leadlight glass

Above Left" Cathedral glass showing leadlight glass and coloured glass panes - Backlit Gothic Stained Glass windows

Domestic coloured glass panes as decoration - Above Right: Coloured Patterned Glass Verandah window


Leadlight glass

Above Left: The windows of the choir of Cologne Cathedral, (early 14th century)


Above Left: Leadlight glass entrance at Vermont, Adelaide St. Launceston
Above Right: Decorative leadlight glass at Cremorne, 34 Mullens Street Hamilton Qld 4007

Gargoyles and Roof Ornaments

Gargoyles are said to frighten off and protect those that it guards, such as a church, from any evil or harmful spirits.

A Roof Finial is an element that accents the top or end, or corner of a building

Above Left: Gargoyles atop The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, KY. - Twenty-six gargoyles to be exact, all carved in Italy

Above Right: Ramshorn finial

Verandah valence and frieze

Above Left: Gargoyle in form of a lion Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux

Above Right: 8 Rogers Avenue Haberfield, showing ridge ornaments and finials

Verandah valence and frieze

A valence is a panel generally situated under the lintel above that matches the balustrade below, used to disguise the height of the space enclosed.

  • A more decorative design under a verandah lintel is called a 'frieze'

Above left: Italian frieze with gargoyles

Above right: Charlton, near Byron Bay, showing verandah frieze and gable decoration at 34 Mullens Street, Hamilton

Above left: Ancient Gothic Church Parapet

Above Right: Verandah valence at Cremorne, 34 Mullens Street Hamilton Qld 4007

Above Left: Art Nouveau verandah valance at Werona, 33 Trevallyn Road, Launceston 7250Above right: Highly decorative verandah frieze at 2 North Bank Trevallyn, Launceston

Above Left: Verandah decorative frieze at 29 Trevallyn Road Trevallyn, Launceston

Above Right: Pavillion valence decoration at Vermont, Launceston

Gothic Queen Anne in Sydney

5. Gothic Queen Anne in Sydney

In the industrial revolution of the 19th Century, Gothic ornamentation jumped from requiring expensive hand-made detailing to much cheaper mass-produced effects. 

  • Religious influence allowed homes to mirror larger Gothic churches, family homes becoming an ideal of the family Gothic castle.

Probable Gothic influences on the mass-produced Queen Anne style are:

  • conical towers (replacing steeples)

  • front-facing gables

  • ridge ornaments replacing castellation

  • finials on apex of roofs and towers

  • Ridge apex ornament substitutes for gargoyle

  • leadlight glass windows (replacing intricate stained glass) and

  • the sets of small coloured panes of glass above feature windows (as coloured highlighting)

  • bullseye window replacing the grand rose window

  • ornate gable ornament (instead of ornamented galleries or frilly barge boards)

  • gable ventilators (compare the top gable inserts in both US pictures at upper RHS)

  • bulky buttresses (to support side chimneys)

  • verandah valances and friezes as attractive pseudo-gothic ornamentation

  • arched window brickwork or arched entrance corridor

Haberfield Gothic

Haberfield Gothic

In 1901, Haberfield developer Richard Stanton, advertised some available house designs as being of 'domestic Gothic' style, which historian Vincent Crow describes as having a 'characteristic cone', usually on a verandah roof. [1] These are also called 'turrets' and are usually round or pyramid-shaped towers. The tall narrow towers are amusingly known as 'candle-snuffers'.[2]

8 Rogers Avenue Haberfield NSW
12 Deakin Avenue Haberfield NSW
14 Kingston Street Haberfield NSW
19 Stanton Road Haberfield NSW
19 Stanton Road Haberfield NSW

Click Haberfield house photo to view larger size ...

Left to Right:  8 Rogers Avenue; 12 Deakin Avenue; 14 Kingston Street; 19 Stanton Road; 19 Stanton Road 

20 Stanton Road Haberfield NSW
20 Dudley Street Haberfield NSW
42 Kingston Street Haberfield NSW
78 Kingston Road Haberfield NSW
37 Dudley Street Haberfield NSW
Burwood Gothic

Click Haberfield house photo to view larger size .

Left to Right: 20 Stanton Road; 20 Dudley Street; ; 42 Kingston Street; 78 Kingston Road; 37 Dudley Street


Examples of Gothic Federation house design listed by Vincent Crow therein are:

  • 8 Rogers Avenue, Haberfield

  • 11 Dickson Street, Haberfield

  • 11 Forest Street, Haberfield

  • 14 Kingston Street, Haberfield

  • 118 Dalhousie Street, Haberfield

  • 19 Stanton Road, Haberfield (classified by the National Trust)

  • 20 Dudley Street, Haberfield

  • 21 Turner Avenue, Haberfield

  • 30 Kingston Street, Haberfield

  • 37 Dudley Street, Haberfield (classified by the National Trust)

Burwood Gothic

Belvedere at 'Verona' 2A Appian Way Burwood
'Alba Longa' 4 Appian Way Burwood NSW
'Vallambrosa' 19 Appian Way Burwood NSW
Capri, 23 Appian Way Burwood NSW

Click Burwood house photo to view larger size .

Left to Right:: Belvedere at 'Verona' 2A Appian Way Burwood; 'Alba Longa' 4 Appian Way; 'Vallambrosa' 19 Appian Way; Capri, 23 Appian Way

'Colonna' 304 Burwood Road, Appian Way Burwood NSW
'Olmora' 308 Burwood Rd Burwood NSW
'Olmora' 308 Burwood Rd Burwood NSW
Belvedere at 74 Liverpool Road Burwood NSW
Other Sydney Examples

Click Burwood house photo to view larger size .

Left to Right::  'Colonna' 306 Burwood Road, Appian Way; 306 Burwood Road; 'Olmora' 308 Burwood Rd Burwood; Belvedere at 74 Liverpool Road Burwood; 


Examples from the Appian Estate Federation Heritage Area are:

  • 'Verona' 2A Appian Way

  • 'Alba Longa' 4 Appian Way

  • 'Vallambrosa' 19 Appian Way

  • 'Capri' 23 Appian Way

  • 'Colonna' 304 Burwood Road

  • 'Talopa' 306 Burwood Rd

  • 'Olmora' 308 Burwood Rd

  • 74 Liverpool Road Burwood

Other Sydney Examples of Gothic Queen Anne:

Alister Brae 24 King Edward Street, Pymble NSW
18 Carr Street Coogee NSW

Click house photo to view larger size .

Left to Right::  78 Liverpool Road Burwood Heights; 'Alister Brae' - c1904 Pymble NSW; 18 Carr Street Coogee

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